The Joshua Tree National Park covers 790,000 acres across Colorado, the Mojave Desert, and the Little San Bernardino Mountains.
Across great elevation changes are sand dunes, dry lakes, rugged mountains, and granite monoliths.
There are 12 self-guiding nature trails as well as extensive riding and hiking trails. On clear days, the vista from Keys View extends beyond Salton Sea to Mexico and is well worth the added twenty minute drive into the park.
Joshua Tree is also a great place to rock climb. People love to gather and watch climbing enthusiasts scale or "boulder" high desert monzogranite.
This climbing mecca is famous for its more than 400 traditional-style crack, slab, and steep-face climbing routes.
There are nine campgrounds as well as back-country camping.
The elevations are variable in Joshua Tree National Park, so be sure to bring layers of clothing with a hood - like our Browning Buckmark Hooded Sweatshirt!
If you like hiking, make it your goal to hike to all five of the park's fan palm oases.
Other trails lead you to remnants of the gold mining era, a colorful part of the park's cultural history.
Whatever you choose, your time will be rewarding. The desert holds much more than what is readily apparent to the casual observer.
A note of caution: The desert, fascinating as it is, can be life-threatening for those unfamiliar with its potential dangers. It is essential that you carry water with you-even if you are only driving through. Cars break down, keys get locked inside, and accidents happen.
So play it safely and have a wonderful time exploring one of our most interesting National Parks!
Image by us-parks.com.